an art retreat and a new batch of pastels

I spent a few days at Dorland Art Colony to rest and recharge with the intent of getting some new pastels done for my show in October.

The Colony completely burned to the ground during the 2004 Palomar wildfire. Originally there were 10 cabins, two have been rebuilt. I stayed in "Horton II"

here is my cottage

Neither of the cottages are set up for indoor messy studio art making. (I think there are plans to build a central studio). I was DETERMINED to get some work done, so I cobbled together a set-up that worked quite well. (Which makes me think - why don't I have this type of gumption at home, where I also lack a studio?)
my set-up on the porch

I am delighted to report that I completed five pastels (in three days)!

Big Orange Cloud, ©2010 Anne M Bray, pastel, 16 x 21"

I worked from photos that I captured on a cross country road trip taken last October. Most of the shots I used were from one leg between Williams and Kingman AZ. Pure serendipity that I drove it at sunset... I was booked at a Comfort Inn in Williams, but I couldn't locate the branch that had my reservation (Williams has three). I could tell that a good sunset was developing so I ate the room charge and reserved a room in Kingman. Worth every extra penny!

bite size greek salad

bite size greek salad
Originally uploaded by anne m bray

a very cute idea. I'd 1/2 the cherry tomato (easier to eat) and add onion...

I saw this while on retreat, so it was facebook on my iPhone. Sketched up the outlines so that I'd remember it + where it came from, then colored it up when home.

link: http://cookingwithmykid.com/recipes/bite-sized-greek-salad/


the bookcase garden

Originally uploaded by anne m bray

3 plum tomatoes, nasturtiums, basil ][ cucumber, dill, tarragon, thai basil, lemon balm, rosemary, sage, marjoram, lavendar


which writer do YOU resemble?

Here's a fun little web program - it analyzes your writing and tells you what author's style you most resemble.

I tried it out with some of my art statements...
 "Irwindale" was Dan Brown. (gah!)
"249 Miles: A Day on I-10 Texas" was Charles Dickens (better)
"Pattern Recognition" was Stephen King (oh no)
my Roadworks statement was Margaret Atwood (yes!)

how about a blog post?
the banana muffin post (not including recipe) was Stephen King again (nooooooo)
OK, one more try, a long post from my "spygirl" fashion blog was  Margaret Atwood again

hmmmm. what are your results?


rose petal "freezer" jam

Originally uploaded by anne m bray

I love to add a large spoonful to plain yogurt - YUM 

recipe from:  recipegal.com (url no longer active) 
Yield: about 3.5 cups 

1 c fresh rose petals (must never have been sprayed with any chemicals)
3/4 c water
juice of one lemon (no substitutes)
2 1/2 c cane sugar
1 pouch Certo pectin

In blender -- puree petals, water + lemon (be sure to put lid on blender)
Slowly add sugar, stirring as you add
Add pectin, blend for about 1 minute
Pour into clean jars quickly (it sets up fast)
Let set for 6 hours


banana nut muffins

revamp of an old favorite

banana muffins
Originally uploaded by anne m bray

When I left for college in the early fall of 1974, my mom gave me my grandmother's copy of The Boston Cooking School Cookbook, by Fannie Merritt Farmer, 1943 edition. I arrived at my (rented over the phone from a printed listing) room in Isla Vista to discover that by opting for the cheaper "apartment" THERE WAS NO KITCHEN! What I had for $120/mo. was a motel room. (They were upgrading and slowly adding kitchens to all the rooms but I didn't get one until about April). So, with the addition of a mini-fridge, an electric 2-burner "stovetop", and a toaster oven, I was ready to try cooking whatever I could. The banana bread recipe was a favorite. I liked the fact that it didn't call for shortening. It was also very "forgiving" if I was low on ingredients (like eggs). It was a big hit at student pot-luck dinners (well, students will eat almost anything).

after 36 years,
here's how the recipe now looks (click on image to see bigger):

I continue to experiment with additions, the latest being the newly discovered coconut flour. Ended up not as coconutty as I had hoped -- more modifications shall ensue!

Originally uploaded by anne m bray

banana muffin, milky ginger/green tea, fannie farmer cookbook (1943 edition)

Banana Nut Muffins Recipe
preheat oven to 325

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 c turbinado sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c liquid (buttermilk? used ginger water*)

1/4 c coconut flour
1 3/4 c flour (whole wheat pastry flour best)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
spices as desired (I use ground cinnamon, coriander, cloves, cardamom)
1/2 c chopped nuts (pecan or walnut favored)

mash bananas into large bowl, add sugar + other wet ingredients, mix well
measure dry ingredients into 4 c measuring cup, mix well
pour dry into wet and mix
pour batter into treated muffin pan
bake 40 min @ 325 or until inserted toothpick comes out clean
(if made as 5x9" loaf, 1 hr @ 325)

*ginger water is fresh ginger (about 2") cut into 1/4" cubes and boiled in 4 c water for 15 min.